Class of '90
February 2009

Class of 1990,

We hope this letter finds you well!  We have a lot to report since our last class letter in October.  First, THANK YOU to all of you who recently made a financial contribution to Gustavus.  The Class of 1990 has achieved 16% participation so far, which makes us halfway to our goal of 33% participation for the fiscal year (fiscal year closes May 31).  In these tough financial times, we know it can be difficult to contribute to all of the charities and nonprofits you care about, but please donate what you can to help us reach our goal.  Again, it’s not how much you contribute ―participation is important and every little bit helps.  Also, read more below to learn how you can trust Gustavus is putting your contributions to good use.

Other News


Thanks to Class Agent Dan Michel, the Class of 1990 has been reconnecting on Facebook.  Dan set up a Class of 1990 group on Facebook, so if you’re on Facebook, please join us!

1990 Email Account.

We have an email address that will direct your mail to each of your class agents and the Alumni Office.  The address is  Please use this email address to contact us with updates, news about yourself, or if you have questions or comments that you want to share with us.

Reunion Planning.

We’ve started the planning process for our 20-year reunion, to be held on campus in the fall of 2010.  We’re looking for volunteers to help plan reunion activities, and we need approximately 20-30 people for the effort.  Many of you have already volunteered―thank you!  If anyone else is interested, contact one of the class agents directly or send an email to  We will kick off the “official” planning in May or June with a social gathering in the Twin Cities area.  Details TBD.

 “Public Discourse” in the Communication Studies Department

For many of us, it’s been years since we’ve returned to Gustavus, and we haven’t had the opportunity to reconnect with students, professors, coaches, mentors, and campus life in general.  To help you reconnect, we wanted to share a few recent experiences of Gustavus students, many of whom benefit from scholarships and financial aid supported by your contributions.

In the fall of 2007, the Communication Studies Department established a course called “Public Discourse.”  In this course, students participate in a semester-long “civic engagement” project where they choose an issue in the community, research the issue, investigate possible ways to address it, develop a plan, and take direct action to advocate for the plan.  The course has been well-received by students, and the projects generated by the course have been amazing.  The course is now a requirement for the major.  Some recent examples:

Jen Syverson ’10, Fibromyalgia Awareness

Jen coordinated a fibromayalgia awareness dinner and auction in her hometown, which raised $5000.  Jen was invited to join the National Fibromyalgia Summit, a panel of five people with fibromyalgia and five doctors to discuss patient protocol.

Sara Scholin ’09, Food Allergen Labeling at Gustavus

Sara found that students with special dietary needs like her had difficulty eating in the Gustavus dining service.  Sara worked with Steve Kjellgren ’86, director of dining services, to establish a food labeling system in the Market Place that identifies food allergens and intolerances (dairy, eggs, peanuts, wheat, soy, shellfish, etc.).  Her system also resulted in two paid student internships.

Wes Jones, ’11, Hurricane Katrina Awareness

Wes traveled to his hometown of New Orleans, spoke with residents, took a helicopter tour with the Coast Guard, and met with the area director of FEMA.  Wes brought the compelling stories from residents back to Gustavus and presented his findings to 125 students.  He also shared the presentation with 100 students of the Gustavus chapter of Habitat for Humanity who traveled to New Orleans for spring break to do work there.

We will continue to share stories of Gustavus students and life on campus in future class letters.

Class News

  • Amy Jackson Davis, Verona, Wisconsin, is a client service associate at Madison Investment Advisors, Inc.  Amy and her husband, Jerome Davis, also welcomed the birth of their daughter, Taylor Gene, on September 5, 2007.  Congratulations Amy!
  • Dan Homstad, Apple Valley, Minnesota, is a public defender for Hennepin County.  In his spare time, Dan writes novels and runs marathons.  Dan’s second novel, “Hero’s Heart:  A Novella of World War II,” was published in 2005.
  • Heidi Kennedy Manning, Moorhead, Minnesota, is the division chair of the science and mathematics department at Concordia College.  Heidi recently traveled to China with other Minnesota private college representatives to continue establishing student exchange opportunities with the United International College (UIC) in China.
  • Melissa Bruninga-Matteau, Irvine, California, recently finished a term as president of associated graduate students at the University of California.
  • Teresa Burgess Paetznick, Rosemount, Minnesota, is a team manager for 3M.
  • Jill Matthews Rickheim, Bloomington, Minnesota, is director of external reporting at Ameriprise Financial.
  • Jim Roberge, Zimmerman, Minnesota, is senior vice president at Cobank.
  • Teri Hedquist Scott, Windom, Minnesota, is traffic office manager at KDOM Radio.
  • Kim Kraemer Westra, Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota, teaches 4th grade in Inver Grove Heights.
  • Thor Westra, Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota, is global director of support at Lawson Software.
  • Liesl Batz, Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Dan Michel, Chicago, Illinois, are looking forward to another season of “Dancing with the Stars.”

Keep sending us your news―we love to hear from you.  And, if you haven’t done so already, please consider a donation to Gustavus before May 31.

Thanks from your class agents,

Liesl Batz

Dan Michel

Anne Miller

Scott Nelson

1990 Class Agents

Campus News

Haugen Named Head Football Coach

Peter Haugen was named the new head football coach in mid-December.  Haugen posted a 111-44 record in 15 years at Washburn High School.  He is the 17th head coach in the 93-year history of Gustavus football and started his new position the second week of January.  A Twin Cities reception to meet Coach Haugen will be held on Thursday, Feb. 12 at the Doubletree Hotel Minneapolis-Park Place, 1500 Park Place Boulevard.  Please reserve by calling the Alumni Office at 800-487-8437.

President Ohle is on the Road!

Please join President Ohle, his wife Kris, and other Gustavus staff at a chapter dessert reception near you.  President Ohle will be visiting 11 cities around the country in the coming months and all alumni, parents, and friends of the College are invited to attend a reception.  Dates are listed below or check out the Alumni website to find out more details.

Mustaphi Named Michelle Obama’s Deputy Press Secretary

Semonti Mustaphi ’03 was recently named Deputy Press Secretary for First Lady Michelle Obama.  Mustaphi worked on the Obama campaign, and has also held communications positions for three senators.  Mustaphi graduated with a political science and communication studies double major, danced in the Gustavus Dance Company, and was an Anderson Scholar.

Gustie Breakfasts

Join us for the “Come on You Gustie” Breakfasts.  The breakfasts are held the third Wednesday of each month at the Doubletree Hotel, Minneapolis-Park Place, 1500 Park Place Boulevard (Hwy 394 and Hwy 100).  The breakfast runs from 8-9:30 and is $10 per person.  Reserve a spot by calling Don Swanson ’55 at (763) 533-9083.

Alumni Insurance Programs

Are you in need of short-term medical insurance and between jobs?  Meyers and Associates can help with temporary medical insurance as well as life insurance.  For information about life and short-term medical insurance, call 800-635-7801 or visit Meyer and Associates.  Want to save money on your car insurance?  As a Gustavus alumnus you qualify for special group discounts through Liberty Mutual.

Gustie Pages

Want to support Gustie professionals?  In need of a doctor, pastor, or financial adviser?  Look in the Gustie Pages, an online database of Gusties who have submitted information about their profession.  Use the Gustavus network to meet your needs, or submit your professional information if you would like other Gusties to become your customers.  Go to the Gustie Pages at the alumni website,


Mark your calendars now for Homecoming 2009!  The Gustavus football team will face off against Pacific Lutheran University on Saturday, Oct. 10.  Watch for more information about tons of fun events the weekend of Oct. 9 and 10.

Upcoming Alumni Events

  • Los Angeles Chapter Gathering - Feb. 28, Art Director's Guild, Studio City
  • Boston Chapter Gathering - Mar. 14, Hyatt Regency Cambridge
  • New York Chapter Gathering - Mar. 16, New York Marriott East Side
  • Twin Cities Gustie Breakfast, Ken Westphal, vice president for finance - Mar. 18
  • Seattle Chapter Gathering - Mar. 21, Trinity Lutheran Church, Freeland, WA
  • San Francisco Chapter Gathering - Mar. 23, Hotel Vitale
  • Twin Cities Gustie Breakfast, Steve Wilkinson, retiring men's tennis coach - Apr. 15